How to manage file versions on Google Drive [Guide]

Google Drive, like other cloud services, maintains different versions of files. We explained how you can access older file versions on OneDrive a while back. Google Drive’s file version control is exponentially better than that of OneDrive though. It not only lets you upload different versions of a file, but also gives you an easy way to manage them. Here’s how you can mange file versions on Google Drive.

Identify File Versions

Google Drive identifies file version as files that have the same name and same file extension and that have been uploaded to the same location. This means that if you try to upload a text file called Text File to the root of your Google Drive and then immediately upload another text file with the same name (Text File) to the root of your Google Drive, it will be identified as another version of the file you uploaded earlier. Google Drive will not examine the contents of the file to see if it’s actually similar to the previous file.

Manage File Versions

Visit Google Drive and go to the folder that you want to upload a file, or version of a file to. Upload the original, or the first version of the file like you would upload any other file.

Same file name

If you’re updating a file but not saving it with different names i.e., different versions of the file have the same name, you can upload the subsequent versions of the file like you would any other file. When Google Drive detects the same file name and type being uploaded to the same folder, it uploads it as a second, newer version of the current file and it gives you the option to save it as a separate file.

If you choose to save it as a separate file rather than a second version of the file already in your drive, Google Drive will add a number at the end of the file name.

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Different file name

You want to first upload the first version of the file. To add a second version of the file that has a different file name, right-click the original file in Google Drive and select Manage Versions from the context menu. This will open the file version manager.

Here, you will see an Upload New Version button. Click it and select the file that is a second/newer version of the original file.

When you upload the second version, the original file’s name will not be updated to that of the second version. It will retain its original name however, when you open the file, you will see the latest version of it.

Regardless of how you named the files and uploaded various versions of it, Google Drive will always open the most recent version of a file when you double-click it. As for accessing older versions, you can download them from the version manager but you cannot open then directly in Google Drive.

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